Saturday, February 7, 2015

Travel Throwback: NYC

New York City is dirty, noisy, crowded, and overwhelming. But I love it! The thriving metropolis is far from perfect, but its charm is in its energy, its architecture, and that undefinable feeling you get when you're standing in the middle of Times Square. I haven't said hello in person to NYC in a few years, but I keep dreaming of going back. Here are some of the highlights from my last trip.

Times Square

Times Square is the perfect place to soak up the sensations of New York. Breathe deep of the polluted air, be blinded by a barrage of advertisements, and get your kicks while you watch the people roam about.

Times Square has some practical value, too. The myriad of merchants that haunt the area sell everything you might need and tons of stuff that you might buy just because it's there. There are grocery stores, toy stores, clothing stores, candy stores, and tons more. Plus, there are several banks that offer currency exchange services so foreign visitors aren't left out of the loop.

Perhaps the best thing about Times Square is TKTS. They sell discount tickets to Broadway shows -- and you can't say you've experienced New York unless you've seen a Broadway show (well, sort of. I didn't actually see a Broadway show when I was there, but I sure wanted to!).

The Empire State Building

I went to the top of the Empire State Building on a Sunday evening. It was crazy crowded, and it took approximately a million years to get back down from the observatory. Whew! Also, the experience is overpriced.

Despite that, I must say that I did enjoy taking in the unique view from the iconic building. However, if I ever go again, I will try to go first thing in the morning in the middle of the week; maybe then my space bubble won't feel so beaten up afterwards.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I took a tour at the famous museum, and it gave me a fascinating new perspective on Greek and Roman culture. However, I feel like the tour wasn't enough time at the museum. It's a universe of amazing artifacts. I'm not exactly an art connoisseur, but I think I could have spent days taking in The Met.

The Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall

As you may have guessed, the Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall isn't technically in New York City. It's about 20 minutes away in Elizabeth, right across the street from the hotel where I stayed during my visit. Before I went to this shopping gem, I had no idea what a real, big mall was actually like. I'm from a small town, and this place absolutely blew my mind. The best part? There is no sales tax on clothing in New Jersey. 

The People Make the Trip

I went to New York with a tour group--without anyone that I had met beforehand. I'm not averse to solo travel, but the people I met were really the highlight of my New York trip. It seems unlikely that I'll see any of those people again anytime soon, but I appreciated having some like-minded tourists to share the experience with. I felt less shy than my nature when I went to New York.

Of course, the people who actually live in New York are a tad on the scary side.

I'm a little bit dying to go to New York again, but I have other plans that have to put NYC on the back burner. Someday, though...someday...

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